Teran, Teran, Teran!? Slovenia’s Karst region is synonymous with this vigorous and earthy red wine that is reminiscent of the rich, red soil on which it grows.
But that’s not all that Slovenia’s western region has to offer. With its mix of Mediterranean and continental climates, the Karst (or ‘Kras’ as the Slovene’s know it) is a fertile ground that yields many natural goodies, including true goodness on a stalk: WILD ASPARAGUS!
It’s no wonder that the Brestovica Tourism Association has been busy organising their mighty asparagus event for the past 13 years or so. And I say mighty because it consists of three parts:
- The Koloosmica where cyclists pedal along stony pathways and then stop at an osmica for some tasty, home-made refreshments;
- An asparagus hike with pit-stops for a quick drink and bite, and pathways where hikers can gather the much sought-after wild veg; and
- Finally a reward for all: an appetising selection of locally-prepared dishes containing… guess what? Asparagus!
I’m not much of a cyclist, so I geared myself up for the two-hour walk that took us from the village of Brestovica pri Komnu, through pathways among stone houses and rocky sides, and slowly up towards the peak known as Kremenjak. This hill that lies on the border between Italy and Slovenia still has an observatory that dates back to the First World War.
We were well-received at our destination point by some members of the organisation committee that were making use of this observatory as a temporary storage space for the refreshments they were serving to weary (and not so weary) hikers in need of a drink: schnapps for warmth, wine for merriment, and water for re-hydration.
What a great sensation it is to be rewarded with views overlooking four countries! Slovenia, Italy (Trieste is not too far off), Austria, and sometimes Croatia on a clear day.
Views absorbed and drinks imbibed, we set off back to the starting point that would serve as our last pit-stop with food and drinks.
Back in Brestovica, we ate frtalja (omlette) with wild asparagus, accompanied by a glass (or two) of teran, finished off with some asparagus marble cake. Simply divine!
All this to the boisterous sound of a two-man band playing Slovenian and international evergreens, which was only interrupted to allow for the award-giving ceremony to round up the competition of the day: A nice leg of prosciutto was handed out to the winner who had the nearest guess as to the weight of this same dry-cured thigh. A good 3.4k. What a prize!
We paid one last visit to the exhibition of asparagus dishes that were tastefully displayed, and made some space for a few last bites: An asparagus puff-puff, and a small portion of panna cotta with asparagus.
It’s asparagus time in western Slovenia (even in Malta where I’m from 😊) So don’t just talk the talk! Walk the walk, pick the stalks, and go wild with asparagus this month!